Starting a business in Walker County will soon be more straightforward. Beginning July 1st, 2019, entrepreneurs will be able to stop by the county’s Planning office and obtain a business license.
Jennifer McSpadden, Owner, Pie Slingers Pizzeria, says “It’s a sense of pride, it kicks everything off and you get excited about opening your business and getting it started.” McSpadden adds the process of starting a business in Walker County has been confusing. “In every other location that I’ve opened, and I’ve had four other locations besides here in Walker County… the first step to opening a business is acquiring a business license.”
The Small Business Administration, financial planners like Dave Ramsey and others all advise this step, since a business license is required to complete many start-up functions. “So they kind of hit that roadblock when they are going to get set up for business insurance or a business loan or even to get set up as a wholesale vendor sometimes they are asked where is your business license,” says Lacey Wilson, President, Walker County Chamber of Commerce.
Along with offering benefits to business owners, consumers will now be able to see which businesses are following the rules and which are not. Licensing will also provide more accurate economic development data to help recruit industry… data not currently available in the community, because it’s unclear just how many businesses and skilled workers exist. Wilson adds, “So, if we have an automotive supplier and they’re coming to the area and want to know information about similar businesses, we don’t have that information. If you have a large manufacturer who is locating maybe to another county in our region and they want to know if Walker County is a good fit for their suppliers, we also don’t have that information to be able to give them.”
While licensing begins July 1st for new businesses, existing businesses have until January 1st, 2020 to obtain a license. There’s a nominal fee of $50 to $150 for the license, depending on the number of employees.
“When all the other businesses need to have one, there is accountability to our county. We all have to have a state license or sales tax license, but to have local accountability and know that your are providing locally. And then our local government can help us in that they understand we’re a part of their growth and sustainability is very important to us,” says McSpadden.
The cities within Walker County already require a business license. The new county license only applies to businesses operating in the unincorporated areas. The application process will open in late May/early June.